What is confirmation?
Confirmation marks the point in the Christian journey at which you affirm for yourself the faith into which you have been baptized and your intention to live a life of committed discipleship. This affirmation is confirmed through prayer and the laying on of hands by the confirming bishop. The Church also asks God to give you power through the Holy Spirit to enable you to live in the way of Jesus.
The Confirmation Service
Your confirmation will be led by the bishop. It may take place during the main Sunday service at your own church or at a special service. It may also take place at the cathedral or in another church in your diocese.
There may be a rehearsal before the confirmation service so that you understand everything that happens in the service. The priest will make sure you know where to sit and when you need to move. Some parts of the service will be for the whole congregation to join in; some will be for just you and the other confirmation candidates to say.
Most of the confirmation service will normally take place at the front of the church, but for the renewal of baptism promises, candidates may be asked by the bishop to gather around the font. (The font is a large basin on a pedestal, containing the water for baptism.)
Making decisions and promises
When you were baptized as a child, your parents and godparents were asked to declare publicly on your behalf that they believed in God and that they would bring you up to follow Jesus. They were asked to answer, on your behalf, that you had decided to turn away from everything which is evil or sinful and instead to turn towards Christ. At confirmation, you will renew these decisions and promises.
The declarations made by you will be made in front of the church congregation; the local Christian community will promise to support you and pray for you.
At the Service of Confirmation
The Book of Alternative Services (page 161)
The bishop says to the congregation, Let us now pray for these persons who have renewed their commitment to Christ.
Silence may be kept. Then the bishop says, Almighty God, we thank you that by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ you have overcome sin and brought us to yourself, and that by the sealing of your Holy Spirit you have bound us to your service. Renew in these your servants the covenant you made with them at their baptism. Send them forth in the power of that Spirit to perform the service you set before them; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The bishop lays his hand upon each one and says,
For Confirmation Strengthen, O Lord, your servant N with your Holy Spirit; empower him/her for your service; and sustain him/her all the days of his/her life. Amen.
Or this: Defend, O Lord, your servant N with your heavenly grace, that he/she may continue yours for ever, and daily increase in your Holy Spirit more and more, until he/she comes to your everlasting kingdom. Amen.
The service continues with the preparation of the gifts for the Eucharist.
The sign of the cross – the bishop will make the sign of the cross on your forehead with oil. This is a sign of the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit. It is like an invisible badge to show that Christians are united with Christ and must not be ashamed to stand up for their faith in him.
The role of sponsors
At Baptism, Godparents stood alongside your parents to make the same promises on behalf of the child being baptized. At confirmation you may be asked if you would like a sponsor to stand with you as a symbol of their journeying with you in faith. Usually this is someone who has previously been confirmed. It may be one of the people who has prepared you for confirmation or it may be a youth worker, a good friend, a relative, or a Godparent.
It is normal for Confirmation to be followed straight away by Holy Communion, although in cases where confirmation has not taken place in a candidate’s parish church they may instead take Communion for the first time in that church on the following Sunday.
For the information above, except for the excerpt from the BAS, please go here.
If you wish more information or if you wish to be confirmed, please call the St. James’ Anglican Church of Kingston at (613) 548-7254. You may also use the contact form here.